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Yogurt is a popular dairy product that is beneficial to your health. It is rich in nutrients such as vitamins A, B2, B12, and E, protein, calcium, zinc, potassium, fatty acids, and magnesium. (1)
The lactic acid in yogurt, along with its abundant nutrients, can help exfoliate and moisturize the skin, tighten skin pores, manage dandruff, soothe itching, and nourish the skin and hair. Keep in mind to use only plain yogurt with high fat content to reap its skin and hair benefits.
Beauty Benefits of Yogurt on Skin
Yogurt can improve your skin health by providing the following skin benefits:
Note: Conduct a patch test before applying any mask on your face, especially if you have sensitive skin, to check for any allergies or reactions.
1. Moisturizes and heals dry skin
Yogurt is a rich source of B vitamins, namely, B2, B5, and B12, which moisturize, hydrate, and heal dry skin. In addition, vitamin B2 acts as an antioxidant that prevents skin dryness caused by free radicals. (4)
Yogurt also contains calcium, which supports skin cell generation, promoting healing of dry skin. The zinc in yogurt provides anti-inflammatory effects and protects the skin from sun damage. The lactic acid in yogurt also helps remove dry and dead skin cells, giving your skin a smooth appearance.
How to use:
- Mash a ripe banana and mix it with 2 tbsp of yogurt and 1 tbsp of oil. Apply the paste to your skin, and wash it off after 20–30 minutes. Repeat this remedy 2–3 times a week.
- Alternatively, mix 2 tbsp of whipped yogurt, 1 tbsp of cocoa powder, and 1 tsp of raw honey to form a smooth paste. Apply the mask to your skin, and wash it off after 15–20 minutes. Repeat the remedy up to 3 times a week.
- You can also add half of an avocado, mashed, to any of the masks to boost their hydrating properties.
2. Helps prevent the early signs of aging
Alpha hydroxy acids are often used as mild exfoliators that help remove dead skin cells from the skin surface. Yogurt is an excellent natural source of an alpha hydroxy acid known as lactic acid. The exfoliating property of lactic acid is useful in fading fine lines and wrinkles over time.
In addition, applying yogurt to your skin can help manage oxidative stress and thus prevent the early signs of skin aging. Moreover, the calcium in yogurt boosts skin cell regeneration.
Since skin dehydration and dryness are common factors behind premature skin aging, the moisturizing and hydrating properties of yogurt can be beneficial.
How to use:
- Mix 1 tbsp of yogurt with 2 tbsp of ground oats. Add in 1 whole beaten egg and mix well. Apply the mask to your face and neck, and wash it off using cold water after 15–20 minutes. Use this remedy weekly.
- Alternatively, crush a few rose petals and mix them with 2 tbsp of yogurt, 2 tbsp of rosewater, and 1 tbsp of honey. Apply the mixture to your face, and wash it off after 10 minutes.
3. Blocks sun damage
As mentioned above, yogurt contains anti-inflammatory properties, owing to its content of zinc, (5) which helps prevent sun damage such as skin dryness. It also helps shrink skin pores and reduce skin blemishes.
Moreover, the application of yogurt promotes skin cell growth and prevents fine lines and wrinkles.
How to use:
- Peel and cut a cucumber into small pieces. Blend the cucumber with 2 tbsp of yogurt to form a smooth paste. Apply the mixture to your face and neck, and wash it off using lukewarm water after 15–20 minutes. Repeat the remedy twice a week.
- You can also use yogurt with a few drops of chamomile essential oil to help heal sunburned skin. Apply the mixture to the affected areas, and rinse it off after 10–15 minutes.
4. Treats acne and pimple
Yogurt is a natural antifungal and antibacterial agent (6)(7) that can help fight acne. The probiotics in yogurt also help control the growth of acne-causing bacteria, and the anti-inflammatory properties of zinc help reduce acne-associated inflammation and redness.
Therefore, applying yogurt to the skin can help manage acne, soothe irritation, and give you fresh dewy-looking skin. Yogurt also helps prevent acne formation in the first place.
How to use:
- Mix 1 tsp of yogurt with 1 tsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp of green tea, and a few drops of tea tree essential oil. Apply the paste to your face, and rinse it off with cold water after 15–20 minutes. Repeat the remedy twice a week.
- You can also use yogurt mixed with tea tree oil as a spot treatment for acne. Simply apply the mixture to the affected areas, and wait for 10 minutes before wiping it off.
5. Evens skin tone
The lactic acid in yogurt not only helps cleanse the dead skin cells and dirt from the skin but also inhibits tyrosinase production. Tyrosinase is an enzyme essential for melanin production, which can make the skin darker.
The vitamin B12 in yogurt improves hyperpigmentation on the skin. (8) Vitamin B2 boosts healthy skin cell growth, giving your skin an even skin tone.
How to use:
- Add 2 vitamin E capsules to some fresh yogurt and mix in 2 tbsp of mashed strawberries.
- Massage this mixture over your skin for a few minutes.
- Wash your skin after 10 minutes using lukewarm water.
- Finish with splashing cold water on your face.
6. Reduces dark circles
Yogurt possesses anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing dark circles and under-eye puffiness. Moreover, its natural bleaching properties help lighten your skin tone.
How to use:
- Mix a few drops of almond oil in 1 tsp of yogurt. Apply the mixture under your eyes over the dark circles and massage it in for a couple of minutes. Wash it off after 10–12 minutes. Repeat the remedy daily.
- Alternatively, mix 1 tsp of yogurt with 1 tsp of coffee powder, and apply the paste around the eyes. Wash it off using lukewarm water after 15–20 minutes. Repeat the remedy every other day for best results.
Benefits of Yogurt on Hair
Yogurt can be beneficial for your hair in the following ways:
1. Treats dandruff
Dandruff is primarily caused by a fungal infection and can be managed with the antifungal properties and probiotic content of yogurt. (9) The anti-inflammatory effects of yogurt help soothe the associated irritation, inflammation, and itching.
How to use:
- Mix ½ cup of plain yogurt with 1 tbsp of curry leaves and 2–3 tbsp of coconut oil.
- Apply the mixture to your scalp, and massage it for about 5 minutes.
- Spread the mixture through your hair length, and cover your head with a shower cap.
- Shampoo your hair after 30–45 minutes.
- Repeat the remedy weekly.
2. Acts as a conditioner
Yogurt is a good source of antioxidants that curb the action of free radicals, thereby supporting healthy hair growth. It is also rich in nutrients that nourish the scalp and hair roots, making your hair shiny and smooth. (10)
The vitamins B5 and D in yogurt prevent hair fall and boost the growth of thick, lustrous hair. The protein and lactic acid in it provide deep hydration to dry hair.
How to use:
- Mix ½ cup of yogurt with 2–3 tbsp of aloe vera gel and almond, coconut, or olive oil. Apply the mixture to your hair and scalp, and wash it off after 30–40 minutes. Repeat this remedy weekly.
- Alternatively, mash a ripe banana and mix it with 4–5 tbsp of yogurt. Apply the hair mask to your hair thoroughly and cover your head with a shower cap. Shampoo your hair after 30–40 minutes of application. Repeat this remedy weekly.
3. Treats hair fall and boosts hair growth
Your hair is prone to damage from pollution, chemicals, and a lack of nutrition. Since yogurt is rich in beneficial nutrients and proteins, its topical application can nourish and strengthen your hair, helping prevent hair fall.
In addition, yogurt contains lactic acid that exfoliates the scalp and unclogs the hair follicles. This allows the scalp to breathe better and absorb nutritious compounds readily. The application of yogurt also helps restore scalp pH to prevent bacterial and fungal infections that may contribute to hair loss.
Since yogurt also keeps the scalp and hair moisturized, it boosts hair strength and health. The vitamin B, D, and proteins in yogurt are also useful for hair growth.
How to use:
- Blend a few hibiscus petals with ½ cup of yogurt. Apply the paste to your hair and scalp, and wash it off after 40–45 minutes.
- Alternatively, soak fenugreek seeds with yogurt overnight and blend the mixture in the morning. Apply the resultant paste to your hair scalp, and wash it off after 30 minutes. Repeat this remedy biweekly to boost hair growth.
Other Uses of Yogurt
In addition to the above-mentioned applications for skin and hair care, yogurt can also be used in the following beneficial ways:
- Mix yogurt with honey and apply it to your nails to give them a polished look.
- Treat cracked heels with a yogurt massage.
- Keep your hand moisturized by applying a yogurt mask.
- Add yogurt to your diet to reap its full benefits such as improved gut health, immunity, and nutrition.
Can yogurt be applied to the face daily?
While yogurt is beneficial to your skin in multiple ways, it can disturb your skin’s microbiome if used daily, often causing irritation. Therefore, it is best to use yogurt-based face masks on your skin not more than twice a week.
Moreover, keep checking for any redness or irritation when using yogurt masks and discontinue use for some time in case any reaction occurs.
What can be used in place of yogurt?
You can substitute yogurt with plain buttermilk or kefir for its beneficial effects. Make sure to conduct a patch test before using substitute ingredients.
Yogurt is rich in beneficial compounds such as lactic acid, proteins, calcium, and zinc. It not only helps improve health when consumed orally, but it is also quite beneficial when added to your skin and hair care routine.
Combining yogurt with other natural ingredients for some added benefits can do wonders to your skin and hair health, helping moisturize, nourish, and prevent damage. It is recommended to use plain, organic, full-fat yogurt for best results.